Objectives: To assess whether hospital participation in alternative payment models (APMs) is associated with greater engagement in health information exchange (HIE) along 4 dimensions: volume of patients for whom information is exchanged, diversity of information types, breadth of partner types, and depth of technical approach.
Study design: Pooled, cross-sectional analysis of data on US hospitals from 2014 to 2015.
Methods: APM participation came from Leavitt Partners data, Medicare public use files, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey. We used Medicare data to measure HIE volume for 798 hospitals attesting to stage 2 Meaningful Use and the AHA Information Technology Supplement to measure HIE diversity, breadth, and depth for 1730 hospitals. We used mixed-effects regression to estimate the association between participation in APMs and each dimension of HIE.
Results: Compared with nonparticipating hospitals, full-year APM participation was associated with lower HIE volume (data were sent for 11 percentage points fewer discharges; P = .003), greater HIE diversity (of 4 data types, 0.3 more were transmitted; P <.001), greater HIE breadth (of 3 partner types, data were sent to 0.3 more; P <.001), and greater HIE depth (the odds of using a push and pull approach were 1.68 times greater; P = .004).
Conclusions: Our finding that APM participation was associated with greater HIE diversity, breadth, and depth suggests that value-based payment may be spurring improvements in HIE infrastructure. However, our finding that APM participation is associated with lower HIE volume suggests that there may be an incentive to focus HIE investments on a limited number of partners.